Tulane's Annual URBANBuild Program

Every year, students of Tulane University’s School of Architecture have the opportunity to take a course called “URBANBuild” where they design and construct a home for a family in New Orleans.

(via Tulane SoA News)

“The house at 1924 Toledano St. in Central City is a striking gray residence with a sharply angled roofline and louvered shutters over the front windows. Inside, every inch of its 975 square feet has been painstakingly pondered, debated and studied.

The house, which recently listed on the market for $220,000 and is now under contract, is the 12th project of the Tulane University School of Architecture’s URBANbuild program.

Fifteen students — a mixture of undergrads and grad students — designed the house in a class last fall, then submitted plans to the city and secured building permits. During the spring semester, they built it from the ground up on a vacant 30-foot-by-70-foot lot owned by Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, the nonprofit group which partners with Tulane on the program.

For some of the students, it was the first time they’d ever lifted a hammer or fired up a power tool, much less climbed around a roof.

The class operates like a full-time job, with students expected to spend six days a week on the job site, said Tulane architecture professor and URBANbuild director Byron Mouton. Licensed general contractor Anthony Christiana serves as lead contractor.

In the fall, the students create various architectural design schemes for an affordable residence; at midterm, they vote on the one that will be built. “Then they all work together as a group on the development,” Mouton said. Full Article HERE

Learn more about Tulane’s School of Architecture!

Tulane's Small Center featured in 'Tested' Web Series

(via Tulane University)

Former MythBuster Adam Savage is an expert at taking concepts and putting them into practice within the real world as an industrial designer and special effects creator. During a recent episode of his “Tested” web series, Savage toured the Tulane School of Architecture’s Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design and discovered how architecture students are stepping outside the classroom to develop solutions to real world problems.

“The collaboration with Adam Savage’s team started through an introduction from our colleagues at the Arts Council, who know our work well through our past collaborations,” said Small Center director Maggie Hansen.

The Small Center was recommended as an example of an impactful makerspace in New Orleans.

“We are proud to be presented alongside an impressive group of programs from across the country and so excited to have a fellow maker, Adam Savage, share our work with his national audience,” said Hansen. “Much of architecture school is learning to think through making — at Small Center, our students put this skill into action while working in close conversation with the communities impacted by the design.”

During the inside look of the community design facility, Savage interviewed Emilie Taylor Welty, the Small Center’s design and build manager, and discussed how the program allows Tulane students to gain invaluable hands-on building experience while constructing projects for the New Orleans community organizations in just 16 weeks.

These projects included a collaboration with nonprofit Big Class to redesign their “writer’s room” classroom space at Sylvanie Williams College Prep and an opportunity to revamp an outdoor seating area at Ozanam Inn, a local homeless shelter.

While viewing the completed Ozanam Inn project, Savage discussed how the space’s design was impacted by the everyday needs of the staff and clientele with Nick Jenisch, project manager for the Small Center, graduate students Jonathan House and Sara Harper and adjunct professor of architecture Doug Harmon.

“This is a situation in which every participant wins, and it’s super inspiring,” said Savage.

Learn more about Tulane University’s School of Architecture!

Tulane Architecture Students Give Local Bookstore New Life

(via News from Tulane)

Tulane Architecture Students Give Local Bookstore New Life

When Vera Warren Williams enters her freshly renovated Community Book Center at 2523 Bayou Road in New Orleans, she can scarcely believe it is the same space that she has struggled to maintain since opening the Seventh Ward location in 2003.

With its expanded children’s area, performance spaces, a gallery for artwork, contemporary shelving and African-inspired furnishings, she envisions the center as a hub for school and day care center field trips.

“Our focus has always been on children and young people but the new makeover will allow us to reach even more young people and address literacy at an even younger age,” Williams said.

Williams is grateful to the Albert Jr. and Tina Small City Center, the community design center that is part of the Tulane University School of Architecture. As part of their final design-build project, 14 students did the bulk of the work, from client and community interviews, to design, fabrication and installation.

The process began last year when City Center, which provides high-quality design assistance for nonprofit groups that are traditionally underserved by the design profession, put out its annual request for proposals. Williams’ proposal was one of over 20 project proposals submitted.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about this project,” said Emilie Taylor, design build manager and professor of practice. “Our goal was to create a space that reflects the center’s identity as an African American-centered educational home, while becoming more accessible for new families and visitors coming to this rapidly changing neighborhood.”

Williams said she feels fortunate to have been chosen as one of City Center’s projects.

“Until now it had been an uphill battle trying to make the space appealing and comfortable while staying on top of changes in the book industry. But today I feel we have a new focus, a redirection. For us, this makeover is a blessing.”

Community Book Center will hold a reopening celebration on Wednesday (April 27), from 4 to 6 p.m.

Check out Tulane’s School of Architecture Profile Page on!

(via News from Tulane)